Nicole Kidman ‘bled’ for ‘Destroyer.’ Her reward: a Golden Globe nomination

Nicole Kidman, shown in 2017, is nominated for a Golden Globe in the lead actress in a movie drama category for "Destroyer."
(Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)

In “Destroyer,” Nicole Kidman plays a Los Angeles detective broken by her past and out for revenge. It’s role unlike any the 51-year-old actress has ever played, which is saying something given her long and varied career, and it resulted in a Golden Globe nomination for lead actress in a motion picture drama.

Kidman won two Golden Globes last year, for producing and starring in the HBO limited series “Big Little Lies.” She has four other wins and a total of 14 nominations. She’s thrilled to be returning to the party for a low-budget indie movie close to her heart. (The movie opens Christmas Day.)


Where were you when you heard the news?

I just got off a plane from Australia. That’s why my voice sounds all froggy. I was there for a couple of weeks to take care of my mom and do the Australian film awards. So I landed at 6 here in Los Angeles, turned on my phone and it just blew up with all these text messages. I couldn’t be happier. For “Destroyer” to get acknowledged like this … it’s so important for this little, independent film.

Because “Destroyer” is not an easy film. And playing this character took you on a real journey.

I’m in every frame of the film. And you’re right, it’s not an easy film, and she’s not an easy character to embrace. I wasn’t sure I wanted to play her, honestly. In the middle of filming, I wondered what I had gotten myself into … but that happens a lot with me. I don’t want to be pigeonholed, so I take these parts and then the terror seeps in.

I see my character in this movie as deeply female. She’s a tough, dangerous woman. And hopefully, with this kind of female being recognized like this, it will make financiers want to support and make low-budget, indie movies with female directors and complicated, daring women characters.

FULL COVERAGE: 2019 Golden Globe nominations »

Have you spoken with director Karyn Kusama? She must be ecstatic.

I have. I share this with Karyn. This movie is her baby, and this nomination is such an acknowledgement for her. Living with this character for several weeks wasn’t easy, and having a collaborator like her made it possible.


When we spoke last month, you told me that you brought the character home — it was impossible not to do that. And by the end, [your husband] Keith [Urban] was asking, “Why in the hell did you take this role?”

He saw the blood. That’s what he said to me this morning: “You bled for this film.” He didn’t know I had been nominated. I had to tell him. He was busy getting two little girls ready for school

What did your daughters have to say about their mom’s big morning?

Sunday said, “Yeah. Now can I see it?” I’ve shown her bits of it. Really, just the scene of the me piggybacking my daughter through the snow. To me, that’s the essence of motherhood.

And what did Fifi say?

“Oh. Really? For that film?” [Laughs] Then it was like, “Should I wear braids or pigtails?”

What’s the correct answer?

Braids. Braids are always better. You know, just in case of lice at school. [Laughs] Back to motherhood. …

“Destroyer” director Karyn Kusama discusses casting Nicole Kidman in a role traditionally played by a man.